My Employer Forgot to Fund My 401(k) for 4 Years

Dear Penny,

I am a nanny who is paid legally. I’m almost 53 years old. I have been with a family for four years. I started making $720 a week before taxes, and now I make $800 a week before taxes. I signed a contract saying I’d be paid (matching) 4% of my pay into a 401(k).

I didn’t understand what every line and abbreviation meant on a pay stub. I thought for 2½ years that the 4% was being taken out. I didn’t realize it wasn’t until someone tried to steal my identity.

When I confronted my employer about it, she said that it was a “mistake” and that I will see it on my check as soon as she gets it figured out. She said that she will add the inflation rate and something else. We have had a few discussions about this, but I still do not have this coming out of my check.

I will hold them fully accountable for 100% of what they owe me, even if I have to take them to court. I have 1½ years left. I don’t know where to turn and how much they owe me and how much I need to put into a 401(k) to get caught up. Please help.


Dear T.,

If your employer owed the electric company 2½ years’ worth of back charges, I doubt she’d expect to get a year and a half to correct her mistake. So her dilly-dallying is maddening, especially given that the family entrusts you with the important role of caring for their children.

But if she owed the electric company, she would have had more than a few discussions at this point. She would have gotten pummeled with phone calls and past-due notices. Eventually, her service would have been cut off. to bring this matter up every week until your employer takes action. Make it clear that you’ll continue to provide your service only if she follows the contract both of you signed.

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